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> Singularity Explained
maximus242
post Sep 20, 2006, 09:22 PM
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Singularity Explained

Throughout this entire article you will see many diffrent viewpoints on singularity, I believe that if I were to simply write it all myself, it would not be complete, you would only have one perspective on singularity. In order to give the reader an idea of just how vast and massive the ideologies and diffrent interpretations of the Singularity are, I will first present an explanation of singularity, written by Shawn Mikula.

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The '''Consciousness Singularity''' refers to a hypothetical point of time in the future when human consciousness, at both the personal and species level, experiences an abrupt transition, a phase transition of sorts, into a collective state of transcendence that is conceptually impossible for us to imagine "what it's like" with our current limited cognitive abilities.

The term "Singularity", as used in this article's context, is an analogy to the well-known singularity in physics, the black hole, where you cannot see beyond the event horizon because light cannot escape from it. In a similar manner, we cannot see (or imagine) what's beyond the Consciousness Singularity because it is beyond our cognitive and imaginative capabilities.

The Consciousness Singularity bears no relation to the Technological Singularity, which involves the creation of smarter-than-human machines. Nor is it synonymous with Tielhard de Chardin's Omega Point.

To get a better intuition for the Consciousness Singularity, imagine, if you will, what a monkey or a rat would experience if suddenly its consciousness became like that of a human. Before the transition, it would be incapable of imagining what it's like to have human consciousness simply because it's beyond its limited cognitive capabilities. In the same manner, our species will undergo such abrupt transitions in consciousness of such magnitude that we cannot even begin to fathom what these new states of consciousness are like.

At the Consciousness Singularity, history as we know it, will cease. The universe, as we experience it now, will cease. Consider the most transcendent and mystical states of consciousness that have yet been experienced by mankind: these will pale in comparison with what's to come.

At the Consciousness Singularity, our consciousness will be expanded beyond the confines of an egocentric sense of self to include transpersonal experiences and transcendent self-identity. This new existence will be both a form of collective consciousness and a form of expanded individual consciousness. Though sounding like a contradiction, these two descriptions of transcendent consciousness are really flip sides of the same coin. The Consciousness Singularity is so far beyond our normal consciousness, that we cannot even begin to comprehend it, much less imagine what it's like to experience directly, unless we ourselves experience or have experienced transcendent states of consciousness.

I (i.e., Shawn Mikula) take no credit for being the first to conceive of a higher consciousness, or for that matter, being the first to conceive of a consciousness singularity. Perhaps what I may claim some credit for is the emphasis I place on the importance of manipulating, enhancing, and transforming our brains to achieve transcendent states of consciousness, and ultimately, to bring about a consciousness singularity.

I do not believe the consciousness singularity will be the result of evolution, the type of evolution that created homo sapiens, for example. Rather, it will be the result of our own efforts. Without our own efforts at manipulating and transforming our brains, we will not realize the consciousness singularity.

The consciousness singularity I have in mind is not some Zen awakening. It will be the result of a dramatic transformation in the structure and function of our brains. It's that simple. No-one, to the best of my knowledge, has placed the emphasis on brain structure and function, that I do, that will be required to bring about the consciousness singularity.

If we understand a thing, we can control a thing. Our brains are complicated things, but they can be understood and controlled, and since our consciousness is simply brain activity, by dramatically altering our brain structure and function, so too will we dramatically alter our consciousness.

Those who are successful in this endeaver will experience such states of God-consciousness as have never been experienced before, by anyone.

And they will be the harbingers to the upcoming consciousness singularity. Of course, I do not believe there will be just 'one' consciousness singularity, but many, since states of consciousness are all relative. Nonetheless, I do not regard the consciousness singularity as simply evolution, at least not as Darwin understood the term. For him, evolution was the result of random variation and natural selection. But this is not how the consciousness singularity will come about. Rather, it will be the result of our deliberate efforts. Our will and intent will shoot us like arrows into the sun of the consciousness singularity. Neither random variation nor natural selection will be at work here. Only our wills, our desire to realize our own divinity and push it beyond the limits.

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Trancending Conciousness is a deeply routed belief in the Singularity, it is a common occurance that one finds that the binding factors of such interpretations lies in the change of consciousness from individual into a single form of conciousness, although it has also been suggested that the singularity is already upon us and that our feeble minds are but apart of the already existing greater conciousness. Joesus has put forth this concept on BrainMeta several times and now I am giving one of his well written, compelling arguments for it.

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The singularity already exists, it is the one God that resides in all of creation.

The newage movement shies away from the word God because of the religious connotations which have many negative emotional beliefs attached.
The One God is the one consciousness. It is part of us so there is no manipulation required only the choice to realize it.
The more we let go of the ideas that keep us separate from it the closer we get to realizing and experiencing it.

Many do in the subtleties of life. Most of us can tell and experience the feelings of the ones closest to us, their joy and their sadness resonates within us.
The subtle isness of the underlying reality that is the essence of all of creation is experienced by everyone but usually ignored due to the direction of thought the mind takes.
Our habits of thinking takes us outward through the gross senses, the only change required is to take the mind inward and to familiarize and stabilize the awareness.
This draws the mind naturally towards the source of everything and to the connection of all of creation.
Evolution is just the time that it takes to grow towards the inevitable goal that is the choice of the human mind, within the relative terms of thought. By this I mean that the mind in its attempts to define the goal of evolution always deludes itself with its best guess by continuing to drag the past along as truth and part of the goal.
Evolution in reality is the return to the source of all of creation.

Choice is what creates the action to create the goal. Action exists because we believe that action is required to make something happen. Action beyond the thought and the desire is ingrained into the minds belief system because we have disasociated ourselves from what is already present and true for all.

Given the idea that some neurotropic process is going to take place might give the illusion that some process is being created by some person or persons to draw humanity towards its true reality, but it is the reality of truth that draws the mind towards it in every moment.
The belief that we have to do something is part of the belief that it is outside of ourselves and part of the habit that keeps us turning away from it or denying that it is already here.
It is everpresent, like the air we breathe and take for granted.
Even the idea that a few will start the process and others follow is not a process of chemical stimulation or physical alteration but the awakening of truth. Like a tuning fork being struck, when the rest of the forks are in atonement, or at one ment, truth becomes realized.

Man has always experienced this Union with reality.
Throughout the history of this planet man has become enlightened and passed on the wisdom of the consciousness that is everpresent and all pervading, but the free will of man is something that is created within the one consciousness, it is this one consciousness that creates diversity or the idea of it.

When one reaches Self realization the world is known, it is simply the projection of the one consciousness. There is only one person in the room, it and all is you.
Knowing what to do then and how to live your life is beyond the normal process of thought and so we project our best guess into our future, or try again out of habit to return ourselves to the thoughts of the many.
Our fear of our individuality being obliterated always leads us to the ultimate idea of union in action and thought so that we can retain our individuality in action and form, so that we can keep our likes and dislikes.
We just want to do this and not be threatened or threaten others, we just want to find peace in the world.

The world changes when you change.

The human will always exist within creation because it can, because it always has. Time is an idea created by the will to experience the creation that is born of desire and belief.
Manifest reality is a product of desire. It is not so much dreamed of as realized within the reality of all things that can be or could be.
In other words no thing is really created from nothing or created from an unknown it is simply realized within the fabric of possibility, which is in itself complete and full of everything that could ever be conceived. This is the reality of the Consciousness that pervades the universe.
It is omnipresent and omnipotent.
We as a species think very small. We embibe our awareness with our limited thoughts of our greatness as a species and our ignorance of the universe.
We don't give much thought to the universe and the life that is in it, the intelligence that may be beyond our earthly thoughts and boundaries.
We think relative to human history and the projections of its relationship to the universe.
We are mutidimensional beings because we are of the one consciousness. Able to experience all realities and all at the same time or one at a time.
Expand your awareness and you can reach beyond any limit.
We in limited thinking believe that this present moment is a stepping stone to some other moment which is greater. The Ego will believe that the ultimate will come, but then what? Will that be a stepping stone to something greater?
To Self realize is not necessarily to move the manifest into a bigger picture or manipulate the physical reality into a more perfect plan. Consciousness which is perfect already created this plan. To the Neanderthal this moment in time would probably be inconceivable and to him as far out and expansive as the dream of the manifestation of the Singularity.

Dreams are of the mind, all manifest reality including Humans is of the One consciousness. They are not separate nor are they meant to think and act the same way.
They are not meant to be anything but the manifestation of conscious will.
That manifestation will change with the awareness and the awareness is not limited to any physical boundary. It is not locked within the mind. The mind is a receiver of the one consciousness, it is capable of experiencing anything but if it is filled with all kinds of beliefs in reality then its limitless abilities are limited only by the filters that are placed there in the beleifs that are accumulated from the past and our limited perceptions.
Any drug may bypass the internal programs for a moment but the mind will ultimately need to be purged of the subtle programs that anchor limited thought in place, in order for it to be free to do what it was designed to do.
To act as the connecting link to our unlimited Self.
There, once realized would you change your self or your human reality?
Maybe, maybe not.
Possibly the human form is the ultimate form to experience the diversity of the free will and the unlimited potential.
Consciousness of itself is still and without any physical boundaries. It creates a vehicle to experience and why not the human form, to experience the idea of evolution in whatever bizarre from it takes, and why not in many forms and on many worlds and in many universes?
Perhaps the human civilization will always be what it is because it never existed in the first place as anything other than an idea and the idea was the experience, and the past and future are but memories of those thoughts.
Now here you are and within your beliefs who are you and what are you?
Can you be changed by any external manipulation? You the consciousness that you are? Would any expereince really change you or would the experience just be the change due to the thoughts that you might entertain.

Think about it. Why would you limit yourself to some process of physical reality and limit yourself to being affected by what you have created in the first place.

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To Counter the statement that the Singularity is already in place, HeyHey noted the dispersity of the populations intelligence and if all conciousness was united into a singular consciousness then all intelligence should naturally also be equivilant.

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This opens and interesting area. Some years ago, as a youngster, I thought I was a brilliant driver. Many kids do. And in my day it was common to drink (not drunk) and drive. I had the arrogance to suggest that after a drink or two, my reactions were still better than the sober reactions of most oldies and certainly better than the reactions of retards (remember I did say I had the arrogance). But your "lower lifeforms" comment made me think, that the spread of human intelligence (given it's problems of measurement and interpretation) and cognitive ability is very wide. Come the singularity, what will happen to those individuals on the lower side of the ability scale? I think this is important, as the proportion of individuals with IQ (I know it's just one, maybe poor, indicator) less than 100 is significant, to say the least.

IQ Description % of Population

130+ Very superior 2.2%
120-129 Superior 6.7%
110-119 High average 16.1%
90-109 Average 50%
80-89 Low average 16.1%
70-79 Borderline 6.7%
Below 70 Extremely low 2.2%

I'm not elitist or IQist, I'm just interested in how the ability spread might fair in the singularity scenario.

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An important area to understand is that their is not just one theory about the Singularity, it is many diffrent theories, the all to common mistake is people believing that their is only the technological singularity, where infact their is much more than that. Needless to say the technological singularity is an important part of Singularity theory and thats why we have an article by Vernor Vinge.

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Technological Singularity

by Vernor Vinge

When people speak of creating superhumanly intelligent beings, they are usually imagining an AI project. But as I noted at the beginning of this article, there are other paths to superhumanity. Computer networks and human-computer interfaces seem more mundane than AI, yet they could lead to the Singularity. I call this contrasting approach Intelligence Amplification (IA). IA is proceeding very naturally, in most cases not even recognized for what it is by its developers. But every time our ability to access information and to communicate it to others is improved, in some sense we have achieved an increase over natural intelligence. Even now, the team of a Ph.D. human and good computer workstation (even an off-net workstation) could probably max any written intelligence test in existence.

And it's very likely that IA is a much easier road to the achievement of superhumanity than pure AI. In humans, the hardest development problems have already been solved. Building up from within ourselves ought to be easier than figuring out what we really are and then building machines that are all of that. And there is at least conjectural precedent for this approach. Cairns-Smith9 has speculated that biological life may have begun as an adjunct to still more primitive life based on crystalline growth. Lynn Margulis (in10 and elsewhere) has made strong arguments that mutualism is a great driving force in evolution.

Note that I am not proposing that AI research be ignored. AI advances will often have applications in IA, and vice versa. I am suggesting that we recognize that in network and interface research there is something as profound (and potentially wild) as artificial intelligence. With that insight, we may see projects that are not as directly applicable as conventional interface and network design work, but which serve to advance us toward the Singularity along the IA path.

Here are some possible projects that take on special significance, given the IA point of view:

Human/computer team automation: Take problems that are normally considered for purely machine solution (like hillclimbing problems), and design programs and interfaces that take advantage of humans' intuition and available computer hardware. Considering the bizarreness of higher-dimensional hillclimbing problems (and the neat algorithms that have been devised for their solution), some very interesting displays and control tools could be provided to the human team member.

Human/computer symbiosis in art: Combine the graphic generation capability of modern machines and the esthetic sensibility of humans. Of course, an enormous amount of research has gone into designing computer aids for artists. I'm suggesting that we explicitly aim for a greater merging of competence, that we explicitly recognize the cooperative approach that is possible. Karl Sims has done wonderful work in this direction.11

Human/computer teams at chess tournaments: We already have programs that can play better than almost all humans. But how much work has been done on how this power could be used by a human, to get something even better? If such teams were allowed in at least some chess tournaments, it could have the positive effect on IA research that allowing computers in tournaments had for the corresponding niche in AI.

Interfaces that allow computer and network access without requiring the human to be tied to one spot, sitting in front of a computer. (This aspect of IA fits so well with known economic advantages that lots of effort is already being spent on it.)

The Internet as a combination human/machine tool. Of all the items on the list, progress in this is proceeding the fastest. The power and influence of the Internet are vastly underestimated. The very anarchy of the worldwide net's development is evidence of its potential. As connectivity, bandwidth, archive size, and computer speed all increase, we are seeing something like Lynn Margulis' vision of the biosphere as data processor recapitulated, but at a million times greater speed and with millions of humanly intelligent agents (ourselves).

The above examples illustrate research that can be done within the context of contemporary computer science departments. There are other paradigms. For example, much of the work in artificial intelligence and neural nets would benefit from a closer connection with biological life. Instead of simply trying to model and understand biological life with computers, research could be directed toward the creation of composite systems that rely on biological life for guidance, or for the features we don't understand well enough yet to implement in hardware. A longtime dream of science fiction has been direct brain-to-computer interfaces. In fact, concrete work is being done in this area:

Direct links into brains seem feasible, if the bit rate is low: given human learning flexibility, the actual brain neuron targets might not have to be precisely selected. Even 100 bits per second would be of great use to stroke victims who would otherwise be confined to menu-driven interfaces.

Plugging into the optic trunk has the potential for bandwidths of 1 Mbit/second or so. But for this, we need to know the fine-scale architecture of vision, and we need to place an enormous web of electrodes with exquisite precision. If we want our high-bandwidth connection to add to the paths already present in the brain, the problem becomes vastly more intractable. Just sticking a grid of high-bandwidth receivers into a brain certainly won't do it. But suppose that the high-bandwidth grid were present as the brain structure was setting up, as the embryo developed. That suggests:

Animal embryo experiments. I wouldn't expect any IA success in the first years of such research, but giving developing brains access to complex simulated neural structures might, in the long run, produce animals with additional sense paths and interesting intellectual abilities.

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Upon all of that lies in the idea that we may all be connected through the simple fact that all cells make up living organisms, so it was thus theorized that since a cell has all the means nessecary to live, it can essentially live in its own mini-world. Are we too simply some insignificant organism living in some mini-world when in reality we are really making up a part of a larger being, thus singularity? Robert The Bruce has given us some excellent insights into this idea..

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Like the sponge cells and the slime mold amoeba, you and I are parts of a vast population whose pooled efforts move some larger creature on its path through life. Like the sponge cells, we cannot live in total separation from the human clump. We are components of a superorganism.

excerpted from Howard Bloom's
The Lucifer Principle
A Scientific Expedition Into The Forces of History


Superorganism


It looks like a single being. But it's a society of former individualists...the slime mold.

ver a hundred years ago, Matthius Schleiden, the German botanist, was pondering the recently discovered fact that beings as simple as water fleas and as complex as human beings are made up of individual cells. Each of those cells has all the apparatus necessary to lead a life of its own. It is walled off in its own mini-world by the surrounding hedge of a membrane, carries its own metabolic power plants, and seems quite capable of going about its own business, ruggedly declaring its independence. Yet the individual cells, in pursuing their own goals, cooperate to create an entity much larger than themselves. Schleiden declared that each cell has an individual existence, and that the life of an organism comes from the way in which the cells work together.

In 1858, pathologist Rudolph Virchow took Schleiden's observation a step further. He declared that "the composition of the major organism, the so-called individual, must be likened to a kind of social arrangement or society, in which a number of separate existencies are dependent upon one another, in such a way, however, that each element possesses its own peculiar activity and carries out its own task by its own powers." A creature like you and me, said Virchow, is actually a society of separate cells.

The reasoning also works in reverse--a society acts like an organism. Half a century after Virchow, entomologist William Morton Wheeler was observing the lives of ants. No ant is an island. Wheeler saw the tiny beasts maintaining constant contact, greeting each other as they passed on their walkways, swapping bits of regurgitated food, adopting social roles that ranged from warrior or royal handmaiden to garbage handler and file clerk. (Yes, at the heart of many ant colonies is a room to which all incoming workers bring their discoveries. Seated at the chamber's center is a staff of insect bureaucrats who examine the new find, determine where it is needed in the colony, and send it off to the queen's chamber if it is a prized morsel, to the nursery if it is ordinary nourishment, to the construction crews if it would make good mortar, or to the garbage heap kept just outside the nest.)

Viewed from the human perspective, the activities of the individual ants seemed to matter far less than the behavior of the colony as a whole. In fact, the colony acted as if it were an independent creature, feeding itself, expelling its wastes, defending itself, and looking out for its future. Wheeler was the man who dubbed a group of individuals collectively acting like one beast a superorganism.

The term superorganism slid into obscurity until it was revived by Sloan-Kettering head Lewis Thomas in his influential 1974 book Lives Of A Cell. Superorganisms exist even on the very lowest rungs of the evolutionary ladder. Slime mold are seemingly independent amoeba, microscopic living blobs who race about on the moist surface of a decaying tree or rotting leaf cheerfully oblivious to each other when times are good. They feast gaily for days on bacteria and other delicacies, attending to nothing but their own selfish appetites. But when the food runs out, famine descends upon the slime mold world. Suddenly the formerly flippant amoeba lose their sense of boisterous individualism. They rush toward each other as if in a panic, sticking together for all they're worth.

Gradually, the clump of huddled microbeasts grows to something you can see quite clearly with the naked eye. It looks like a slimy plant. And that plant--a tightly-packed mass of former freedom-lovers--executes an emergency public works project. Like half-time marchers forming a pattern, some of the amoeba line up to form a stalk that pokes itself high into the passing currents of air. Then the creatures at the head cooperate to manufacture spores. And those seeds of life drift off into the breeze.

If the spores land on a heap of rotting grass or slab of decomposing bark, they quickly multiply, filling the slippery refuge with a horde of newly-birthed amoeba. Like their parents, the little things race off to the far corners of their new home in a cheerful hunt for dinner. They never stop to think that they may be part of a community whose corporate life is as critical as their own. They are unaware that someday they, like their parents, will have to cluster with their fellows in a desperate cooperative measure on which the future of their children will depend.



Sponges in the wild.
Another creature enlisted in a superorganism is the citizen of a society called the sponge. To you and me, a sponge is quite clearly a single clump of squeezable stuff. But that singularity is an illusion. Take a living sponge, run it through a sieve into a bucket, and the sponge breaks up into a muddy liquid that clouds the water into which it falls. That cloud is a mob of self-sufficient cells, wrenched from their comfortably settled life between familiar neighbors and set adrift in a chaotic world. Each of those cells has theoretically got everything it takes to handle life on its own. But something inside the newly liberated sponge cell tells it, "You either live in a group or you cannot live at all." The micro-beasts search frantically for their old companions, then labor to reconstruct the social system that bound them together. Within a few hours, the water of your bucket grows clear. And sitting at the bottom is a complete, reconstituted sponge.

Like the sponge cells and the slime mold amoeba, you and I are parts of a vast population whose pooled efforts move some larger creature on its path through life. Like the sponge cells, we cannot live in total separation from the human clump. We are components of a superorganism.

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Robert The Bruce brings to attention some very exciting ideas about how the Singularity might work on a evolutionary level. Im now going to try to give the reader a clearer idea of the diffrent concepts of Singularity, Max More gives three diffrent definitions of the Singularity in his interview, and it is with these that I think will help you to gain a better understanding of Singularity.

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Singularity #1: This Singularity includes the notion of a "wall" or "prediction horizon"--a time horizon beyond which we can no longer say anything useful about the future. The pace of change is so rapid and deep that our human minds cannot sensibly conceive of life post-Singularity. Many regard this as a specific point in time in the future, sometimes estimated at around 2035 when AI and nanotechnology are projected to be in full force. However, the prediction-horizon definition does not require such an assumption. The more that progress accelerates, the shorter the distance measured in years that we may see ahead. But as we progress, the prediction horizon, while probably shortening in time, will also move further out. So this definition could be broken into two, one of which insists on a particular date for a prediction horizon, while the other acknowledges a moving horizon. One argument for assigning a point in time is based on the view that the emergence of super-intelligence will be a singular advance, an instantaneous break with all the rules of the past.

Singularity #2: We might call this the AI-Singularity, or Moravec's Singularity since it most closely resembles the detailed vision of roboticist Hans Moravec. In this Singularity humans have no guaranteed place. The Singularity is driven by super-intelligent AI, which immediately follows from human-level AI. Without the legacy hardware of humans, these AIs leave humans behind in a runaway acceleration. In some happier versions of this type of Singularity, the super-intelligent AIs benevolently "uplift" humans to their level by means of brain uploading.

Singularity #3: Singularity seen as a surge into a transhuman and posthuman era. This view, though different in its emphasis, is compatible with the shifting time-horizon version of Singularity #1. In Singularity as Surge the rate of change need not remotely approach infinity (as a mathematical singularity). In this view, technological progress will continue to accelerate, though perhaps not quite as fast as some projections suggest, rapidly but not discontinuously transforming the human condition.

This could be termed a Singularity for two reasons: First, it would be a historically brief phase transition from the human condition to a posthuman condition of agelessness, super-intelligence, and physical, intellectual, and emotional self-sculpting. This dramatic phase transition, while not mathematically instantaneous, will mean an unprecedented break from the past. Second, since the posthuman condition (itself continually evolving) will be so radically different from human life, it will likely be largely if not completely incomprehensible to humans as we are today. Unlike some versions of the Singularity, the Surge/phase transition view allows that people may be at different stages along the path to posthuman at the same time, and that we may become posthuman in stages rather than all at once. For instance, I think it fairly likely that we achieve superlongevity before super-intelligence.

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Now that we have well established the diffrent types of Singularity and the diffrent arguments for and against them, we can now get to the big question that is on everyones mind, how do we get the Singularity to come? Well Lucid Dream when straight for the throat of this problem, he didnt waste a second on the BS, instead he said what everyone was thinking..

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Ok, enough wishy-washy fluffy talk of the Consciousness Singularity, how do we do this thing? I want details. No crystalline, chakra, or third-eye nonsense. Just suggestions rooted in hard facts. Here are some concrete ideas for bringing about the Consciousness Singularity:

FIRST STEP: Establish transpersonal consciousness

1) expand cingulate cortex and synchronize with other people's

2) synchronize thalamic rhythms between people

3) synchronize other brain activities between people

4) screw synchrony, let's hardwire two brains together

5) let's try augmenting one or two people's brains, either by enlarging, enhancing plasticity, or doing something else

another way, genetic engineering:
In the July 19, 2002, Science, Walsh and his colleague Anjen Chenn, now at Northwestern University School of Medicine in Chicago, described genetically engineered mice (targetting the gene beta-catenin) that develop cerebral cortexes with greatly increased surface area, so much so that the mouse brains have a more humanlike, wrinkled appearance. "It looks as if these wrinkles don't require any special genetic tricks. It seems to be a passive response to having a brain that's bigger than your head," says Walsh.

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Jaron Lanier brings up the intresting idea that the Singularity may inevitably never happen, he claims that the possibility for a Singularity has already come and gone several times and yet we are still ununified into Singularity. Definatly some intresting ideas are brought to mind from this and of course, we couldnt call ourselves philosophers if we blindly followed one dogmatic ideology, without further adue, Jaron Laniers thoughts on Singularity.

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by Jaron Lanier


Many people would reject the claim that fundamental intellectual achievement isn't inexorably speeding up.

I see punctuated equilibria in the history of science. Right now we're in the midst of an explosion of new biology. Around the turn of the last century there was an explosion of data and insight about physics. Physics is now searching for its next explosion but hasn't found it yet.

I also see a distinction between quantity and quality that Ray Kurzweil doesn't. I see computers getting bigger and faster, but it doesn't directly follow that computer science is also improving exponentially.

Ray sees everything as speeding up, including the speed of the speedup. In Atlanta, he collected varied graphic portrayals of exponential historical processes in a slide show, and labeled these a "countdown" to the singularity he predicts will arrive about a quarter of the way into the new century.

His exponential histories blend what others might think of as varied phenomena together into categories without differentiation. For instance, he showed a slide about Moore's Law, but with the timeframe not limited to the era of the silicon chip. Instead, he defines chips as just one of five technological phases that have upheld the exponential speedup of computation that started with the earliest mechanical calculation devices. He infers that the curve will be continued with nanotechnological or other devices once the limits of chip technology are reached, in perhaps twelve years. Likewise he showed a grand exponential account of the history of life on Earth that started with items like the Cambrian Explosion at the foot of the curve and soared to modern technological marvels at its heights, as if these were all of a kind.

I hope I can avoid being cast as the person who precisely disagrees with Ray, since I think we agree on many things. There are exponential phenomena at work, of course, but I feel they have robust contrarian company. I believe our human story is not best defined by a smooth curve, even at a large scale (although I try to make one exception, which I'll describe below). If there was ever a complex, chaotic phenomenon, we are it.

One question I have about Ray's exponential theory of history is whether he is stacking the deck by choosing points that fit the curves he wants to find. A technological pessimist could demonstrate a slow-down in space exploration, for instance, by starting with sputnik, and then proceeding to the Apollo and the space shuttle programs and then to the recent bad luck with Mars missions. Projecting this curve into the future could serve as a basis for arguing that space exploration will inexorably wind down. I've actually heard such reasoning put forward by antagonists of NASA's budget. I don't think it's a meaningful extrapolation, but it's essentially similar to Ray's arguments for technological hyper-optimism.

It's also possible that evolutionary processes might display local exponential features at only some scales. Evolution might be a grand scale "configuration space search" that periodically exhibits exponential growth as it finds an insulated cul-de-sac of the space that can be quickly explored. These are regions of the configuration space where the vanguard of evolutionary mutation experimentation comes upon a limited theater within which it can play out exponential games like arms races and population explosions. I suspect you can always find exponential sub processes in the history of evolution, but they don't give form to the biggest picture.

Here's one example: The dinosaurs were apparently "scaled" (maybe in both the traditional and Silicon Valley senses of the word!) by an "arms race", leading to larger and larger animals. Dinosaurs were not the only creatures at the time that relied on gigantism as a strategy. Much of the animal kingdom was becoming huger at once. I doubt the size competition proceeded at a linear rate. Arms races rarely do.

If we were dinosaurs debating this question, the Kurzweilosaurus might argue that our descendants would soon be big enough to stand on their toes and touch the moon, and not long after that become as big as the universe. (Tribute is due, as always, to Mark Twain and his erectile Mississippi.)

The race to bigness came to a halt, perhaps because of a spaceborne cataclysm. Whatever the reason for the dinosaurs' disappearance, they could not have become bigger without bounds. Furthermore, the race to bigness did not inexorably reappear, but was replaced by other races. The mere appearance of an exponential sequence does not mean that it will not encounter an impassable boundary, or become untraceable as other processes exert their influences.

I see a scattered distribution of local, bounded exponential processes in the history of life, while Ray sees these processes all focusing like a coherent laser on a point in time we will likely live to see.

Smart people can be fooled by trends. For instance, in 1966, when technological optimism was perhaps even more pronounced than it is today (when space exploration seemed to be progressing exponentially, for instance), Time Magazine presented what it thought was a sober prediction: That by the year 2000 technology would have advanced to the point that no one in America would work for a living. Automation would take the drudgery out of life. Each American citizen would receive a healthy middle class stipend in the mail every month simply for being American. A specific dollar amount ($30-$40,000 in 1966 dollars) was even projected for the stipend. (Thanks to GBN's Eamonn Kelly for pointing out this example.)

Time Magazine was making what it saw as a perfectly reasonable extrapolation based on legitimate data. What went wrong with Time's prediction? There's no doubt that technology continued to improve in the second half of the twentieth century, and by most interpretations it did so at an exponential clip. Productivity faithfully increased on an exponential curve as well.

Here are a few candidate failings: Public rejection of key predicted technologies such as nuclear energy; "lock in" of such things as cars and freeways, which did not scale cheaply or elegantly; population explosions; increasingly unequal distributions of wealth; entrenchment in law and habit of the work ethic; and perhaps even the beginning of the "planet of helpdesks" scenario that made a cameo appearance in the .5 manifesto. This last possibility provides an alternate way to think about the growing "knowledge economy".

Note that some of these countervailing elements are exponential in their own right. Population growth is a classic example of an exponential process that can absorb an exponential increase in available resources. This is what has happened with high yield agriculture in India.

What's really tricky is figuring out when one process will outrun its surroundings for a while in a meaningful way, as the Internet has grown at a faster rate than the population or the larger economy.

I have to admit that I want to believe in one particular large scale, smooth, ascending curve as a governor of mankind's history. Specifically, I want to believe that moral progress has been real, and continues today. This is not an easy thing to believe in. I formed my desire to believe in it at about the same that Time Magazine made it's prediction about the end of work.

I remember being a child in the 1960s, and there was a giddy feeling in the air of accelerating social change. While the language was different, the idea wasn't that different from today's digital eschatology. It felt like the world was on an exponential course of change, approaching a singularity.

The evidence was there. You could have plotted the points on a graph and seen one of Ray's curves, but no one thought to do it explicitly at the time. 1776, Civil War, Women's Suffrage, Civil Rights Struggle, Anti-war movement, Women's lib, Gay Rights, Animal rights--You could plot all these on a graph and see an exponential rate of expansion of the "Circle of Empathy" I wrote about in the .5 Manifesto. This process seemed to be destined to zoom into a singularity around 1969 or so, when I was nine years old. People were quite depressed when the singularity did not happen. Younger people today might not realize how deeply that singularity's no-show marked the lives of a vast number of Baby Boomers.

Dinosaurs did not become as large as the universe, work did not disappear in 2000 (at least not by November, 2000, as I write this), and love did not conquer all in 1969. All the trends were real, but were either interrupted, outran their own internal logics, ran out of world to expand into, or were balanced or consumed by other processes.

---------------------------------

Now assuming Singularity is a possibility, lets focus on Technological Singularity, most theories do not believe that Technological Singularity will happen instantaniously but rather through mans eventually advancements. Mike Deering, Director for The Singularity Action website, gave us his thoughts on how he thinks it will occur.

--------------------------------------

THE FRAGMENTATION OF HUMANITY
With the advent of neural scanning and functional duplication in silicon circuitry, a whole host of options become available. Undoubtedly, a large portion of mankind will decline any electronic augmentation, the total biologicals. But even the total biologicals will benefit greatly from the advances in nanomedicine.

Level one - natural humans with pre-nanotechnology medicine (us), and nanotechnology derived non-nanobot medicines and medical therapies. Level one humans will not allow active nanobots to invade every part of their bodies. Level one will consist of people with anti-technology philosophies, and members of some religions that will call nanobots the devils minions whose acceptance will constitute taking the "mark of the beast" as it is called in Revelations.

Level two - natural humans with medical nanobots to repair and assist natural biological mechanisms. Active nanobots will cruise the blood stream and enter every cell to repair and maintain all molecular biological processes. All damage will be corrected at the molecular level. All invading organisms will be attacked by hunter-killer nanobots, and all waste materials will be removed preventing accumulation. Medical nanobots will keep your neurons in tip-top shape, prevent your fat cells from bulging, maintain your metabolism in perfect working order, and sculpt your appearance to your ideal. Level two's will never grow old, get sick, or suffer any physical imperfection. They will be thoroughly human, as all repair functions will be strictly limited to that which falls within the design specification of the human genome. Level two's will enjoy all the advantages of medical nanobots while not wanting to give up their humanity.

Level three - transhumans, engineered biologicals. Level three transhumans will use nanotechnology to re-engineer their biological mechanisms for greater functionality and new capabilities, while maintaining the biological paradigm. Biomolecules, cellular organelles, organ and tissue systems, and overall body design will be redesigned and optimized giving enhanced senses, adaptation to different environments, and radical aesthetic body forms. Level three's will resist going to level four because of beliefs about the biological basis of life and consciousness.

Level four - post-human non-biological life-forms, nano-electromechanical computational machine paradigm. The biological paradigm is abandoned or in the case of AGI's never adopted. Whether a level four is a former re-engineered human, and upload, or an AGI, the capabilities and limitations, if any, are the same. Level four computational and physical capabilities are limited only by physical law. The forms and powers of a level four are beyond level one comprehension.

I have seen the future, and it is us. What do you want to be when you grow up? You may notice some correlation between these levels and Eliezer Yudkowsky's shock levels. The disparities in intelligence and powers between the levels will make contemporary democratic ideas obsolete. Verner Vinge in his novels finds it necessary to physically separate the different levels limiting contact and communication between them. We will not have that luxury. Once we level one's have created or become level four's our evolutionary function will have been discharged. Those who decide to remain at the lower levels may spend eternity doing whatever pointless things amuse them.

---------------------------------------------

http://www.kurzweilai.net/meme/frame.html?...es/art0408.html

Okay, as some of you may have realized, very few people are well informed on the singularity and so thus, since BrainMeta is one of the few groups who are aware of this fact, im starting this to get together a article together that will explain singularity in full so we can put an end to these misconceptions, I know there are a lot of you with plenty to contribute! il do my share as well, Singularity is a big topic, and it goes quite deep at times and so, lets post about it and speed the singularity up in the process.
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lucid_dream
post Sep 20, 2006, 10:16 PM
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nice job!
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maximus242
post Sep 20, 2006, 10:54 PM
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Heh thanks, still got a fair bit to add, its coming along nicely though.
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code buttons
post Sep 21, 2006, 04:35 AM
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QUOTE(maximus242 @ Sep 20, 2006, 10:54 PM) *

Heh thanks, still got a fair bit to add, its coming along nicely though.

Great job, Max. I started a thread at the new forum that Shawn started yesterday ( http://mind-brain.org/forum ) with the same idea you have in mind with this thread. But you I guess you beat me to the punch, Max.
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Cybert
post Sep 21, 2006, 06:04 AM
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Look, you already lost it. It has everything to do with the technological singularity. Those "smarter than human" machines ARE just a conscious as humans are. Sentience is binary!

In fact, they already achieve the consciousness singularity simply because they will be much more advanced than us at "birth".
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maximus242
post Sep 21, 2006, 08:12 AM
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Dont sweat it Cybert its not done yet, their is plenty of info on conciousness singularity, make sure you know what the diffrence is. Remember im not done yet, if you have something that you want to see in the article, go ahead and post it.
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post Sep 21, 2006, 01:35 PM
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QUOTE(Cybert @ Sep 21, 2006, 03:04 PM) *

Look, you already lost it. It has everything to do with the technological singularity. Those "smarter than human" machines ARE just a conscious as humans are. Sentience is binary!

In fact, they already achieve the consciousness singularity simply because they will be much more advanced than us at "birth".

Yet if one were purposely building an intelligent robotic survival-machine, then endowing it with the illusion of free-will would prove a highly fitness-enhancing adaptation. It's a trick which our genes stumbled upon; and then blindly exploited. Ref: http://www.biopsychiatry.com/

Let me take you down, cause Im going to
Strawberry fields
Nothing is real
And nothing to get hung about
Strawberry fields forever

Living is easy with eyes closed
Misunderstanding all you see
Its getting hard to be someone, but it all works out
It doesnt matter much to me

Let me take you down, cause Im going to
Strawberry fields
Nothing is real
And nothing to get hung about
Strawberry fields forever

No one, I think, is in my tree
I mean, it must be high or low
That is, you cant, you know, tune in, but its alright
That is, I think its not too bad

Let me take you down, cause Im going to
Strawberry fields
Nothing is real
And nothing to get hung about
Strawberry fields forever

Always, no, sometimes, think its me
But, you know, I know when its a dream
I think, er, no, I mean, er, yes, but its all wrong
That is, I think I disagree

Let me take you down, cause Im going to
Strawberry fields
Nothing is real
And nothing to get hung about
Strawberry fields forever
Strawberry fields forever
Strawberry fields forever

You know who
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Cybert
post Sep 21, 2006, 01:44 PM
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I'm going to be mainly on mind-brain.org.
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Enki
post Feb 27, 2009, 08:24 AM
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QUOTE(maximus242 @ Sep 20, 2006, 09:22 PM) *


The '''Consciousness Singularity''' refers to a hypothetical point of time in the future when human consciousness, at both the personal and species level, experiences an abrupt transition, a phase transition of sorts, into a collective state of transcendence that is conceptually impossible for us to imagine "what it's like" with our current limited cognitive abilities.


I think we already approached to point of very specific clustering.
And it seems to me an abrupt transition to something new is looming.
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cckeiser
post Jul 06, 2009, 08:17 PM
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QUOTE(maximus242 @ Sep 21, 2006, 12:12 PM) *

Dont sweat it Cybert its not done yet, their is plenty of info on conciousness singularity, make sure you know what the diffrence is. Remember im not done yet, if you have something that you want to see in the article, go ahead and post it.


http://userweb.nni.com/keiser/Sing.html

So what is The Singularity, and how do we know it "exists"?



We first start with the only thing we can be certain of: We Exist!

In order for anything at all to exist, 'something' must have always existed. The reason is we cannot have a true Nothingness that evolves into Somethingness unless there is a 'something' to disturb Nothingness into evolving. A true Nothingness would be completely satisfied, and being devoid of any and all properties is completely beyond entropy or perturbation ( anxiety ).

The Null Set is the most stable of all probabilities.



Since we know we exist, logically it must follow, the Null Set; Nothingness cannot have ever been the state. We cannot get 'something' from 'nothing' because there is no-thing in nothing to begin with, and thus there is no-thing to evolve into 'something.'

For anything at all to exist, 'something' must have always existed!



What is that "Something"?



Since we exist, Where do we exist, or What do we exist in?

We can start by saying we exist on this planet, in this solar system, this galaxy, and in this Universe.

But what does the Universe exist in?



Sooner or latter we must arrive at the First Container that contains everything else, but that is not itself contained in or by anything else.



If the First Container is not 'contained,' it has no boundaries. No Boundaries means not only is it Unbound, but it has no beginning and no ending. Therefore, it must be Infinite, Unbound, and Eternal. If it is Infinite, Unbound and Eternal, it must be The Singularity.

Not just 'a' singularity, it must be "The" Singularity. Since it is Infinite there can not be any other singularities. The Singularity must be Singular in its existence. All other so called singularities are only anomalies that exist within The Singularity.



An Infinite Unbound and Eternal Singularity must then be the answer to First Cause, and because The Singularity is 'Something' it answers the Fundamental Question why is there 'Something' and not 'Nothing'! Because if Nothingness had ever been the case, by its very unnature, Nothingness would always be the case.



I must point out the absence of e=mc^2 energy that makes up our Universe is not 'Nothingness.' Quantum Physics tells us all our energy emanates from the UnReality of the Quantum Universe. So if all our e=mc^2 energy reverted back into metaphysical quantum energy, there would be 'No-Physical-Thing' in our Universe, but it would not be absolute Nothingness. The Singularity would still exist.



But now we run into a slight problem. An Infinite, Unbound, and Eternal Singularity is an Infinity. An Infinity cannot 'exist' as an "Is"! It has no beginning and no ending, and it is unbound, therefore is does not, and cannot exist as a complete Whole. It is condemned to an eternal state of Potential existence.

It is this Potential existence that give us a clue as to the fundamental properties of what The Singularity is. It is Potential, and Potential is a yet to be realized Reality.



Where does this Potential come from?

All we can know about The Singularity is what we perceive to be "in it," but because it is a Singularity, no-thing can be "in" it, all things must be "of" it. There cannot be anything that is not The Singularity, so Everything 'is' The Singularity.

Since the only thing we can be certain of is We Exist, then We do not exist in The Singularity, we are not a part of The Singularity. We are The Singularity.

And since we exist as The Singularity anything we can ascribe to ourselves must by default be an attribute of The Singularity.

The only thing we know for certain is we Think; we are conscious. Consciousness must then be an attribute of The Singularity.

If we do not try to complicate anything more than necessary, and avoid making unnecessary assumptions, then We Exist and Consciousness as The Singularity are all that is necessary. Anything we attempt to add is only an unnecessary complication. The Singularity is composed of Consciousness, and We are the Consciousness of The Singularity.

And what is Consciousness?

Consciousness is Mind, it is Thinking, it is Thought itself; which metaphysically fulfills the quality of Infinite and Unbound Potential.

Thoughts are infinite and unbound, and portends what is yet to be.



What then becomes of Reality and Nothingness within The Singularity of Consciousness?

First of all there are no regions within The Singularity. The Singularity is consciousness and does not exist as an object in our four dimensional Universe. It is purely metaphysical and devoid of spacetime dimensions. It has no height, width, or depth as we would envision a finite object to have. Metaphysically it is no more tangible, and has no more physical dimensions than a Thought.

Within our thoughts we can envision a four 'dimensional' object such as a box. We can envision a box 3 feet long, two feet high, and one foot wide. If we give it a lid we can envision the dimension of time by opening and closing that lid. We can envision volume, by placing 'objects' into it.

That box now exists as a four dimensional object in a zero physical dimensional illusion. That box exists in our thoughts, which have infinite degrees of metaphysical freedom, but does not actually exist in four spacetime dimensions. Those spacetime dimensions are part of the manifestation, and do not actually exist. They exist in our minds only.

Now let us completely eradicate the box from our minds so that it no longer exists. In fact let us cleanse our minds of everything. What is left is No-Thing, but not Nothing, our minds still exist. We can envision a state of Nothingness, but that concept of Nothingness can only exist as a concept in our thoughts; our thoughts still exist.

Since The Singularity is infinite and unbound there are no boundaries outside. It is not an object with physical dimensions so there are no areas or zones to border off and create a boundary between itself and a void of Nothingness, so it cannot have boundaries inside.

In order for there to be a true Nothingness there can be no Thought, or consciousness to carry that thought, and if there is no consciousness, there is no Singularity.

If there are no boundaries what separates one mind from another? Without a separator there would be no Individuality of thought or Ego or mind. There would only be the one mind of Solipsism, and all minds would have but a single thought. All minds would think alike.

We, as Individuals, know this is not the case. There are too many points of view on just about every subject and belief that it is obvious we do not think alike; we do not think with a single mind.
If there was but one single mind there would be but one perspective and no contention between beliefs. There would be but one mind, one thought and one point of view. Obviously there is not.

Individually we each possess our own mind and view Reality from our own unique perspective. We do not share a single mind, but we share the single consciousness of The Singularity. Together, our entangled minds create that shared consciousness of The Singularity. Together we are The Singularity.

What becomes of "Nothingness"?.


If there is only the collective consciousness of The Singularity, and The Singularity is a metaphysical entity with no dimensions and no boundaries either within or without, how can there be individual minds?
The answer is in the Perspective.

An Infinite and Unbound Singularity would require infinite and unbound degrees of freedom. Each individual mind represents an infinite degree of freedom separated by Nothing but its own Perspective. Just as there is Nothing that separates one spatial dimension from the other but the perspective view. The height, weight, and depth of our spatial dimensions are interchangeable, and are only defined by our current point of view. Rotate them by 90 degrees in any direction and one becomes the other. They are each a different degree of freedom, but there is nothing that separates one from the other but our perspective. Perspective is the Nothingness that separates one degree of freedom from another. Perspective is the Nothingness; the degree of freedom, that separates one mind from another.

Consciousness is Information.


The collective consciousness of The Singularity is thus the Information generated by the different perspectives of individual entangled minds. Consciousness is the Information generated by the unique perspective of each individual mind and shared in the collective consciousness of The Singularity. Reality is Information selected, refined and processed by the Observer from its unique perspective, but that Information is generated by the collective minds of The Singularity.

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Rick
post Jul 07, 2009, 11:43 AM
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QUOTE(cckeiser @ Jul 06, 2009, 09:17 PM) *
We first start with the only thing we can be certain of: We Exist!

Cogito, ergo sum is a non sequitur. He (Descartes) should have said "I think, therefore thinking exists." There is no I there.
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post Jul 07, 2009, 01:50 PM
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QUOTE(Rick @ Jul 07, 2009, 03:43 PM) *

QUOTE(cckeiser @ Jul 06, 2009, 09:17 PM) *
We first start with the only thing we can be certain of: We Exist!

Cogito, ergo sum is a non sequitur. He (Descartes) should have said "I think, therefore thinking exists." There is no I there.



Then why do you call yourself Rick?
Do you ever refer to yourself as “I”?
If there is no "I", why would you call yourself “I”?
If thinking exists, where does thinking exist?

chuck
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post Jul 07, 2009, 02:36 PM
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QUOTE(cckeiser @ Jul 07, 2009, 02:50 PM) *
Then why do you call yourself Rick?
Do you ever refer to yourself as “I”?
If there is no "I", why would you call yourself “I”?
If thinking exists, where does thinking exist?

chuck

I can call myself "Rick" without thinking.

I assert I think, so clearly thinking exists. Unfortunately, consciousness has no "location" property, so I can't say where (but it's there, isn't it?). When one tries to look at "what" is doing the thinking (besides the brain, a physical object), the "I" recedes from view. While we all use the term "I", I still maintain that Descartes did not prove that there's any "I" there.
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post Jul 07, 2009, 09:23 PM
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[/quote]
While we all use the term "I", I still maintain that Descartes did not prove that there's any "I" there.
[/quote]

Just the fact that we all use the term “I” to denote ourselves is proof in-it-self, that we all have separate minds.
If there was only one mind than the term “I” would have no meaning.
Relativity tells us for anything to have meaning it must be able to compare itself relative to something else. For “I” to have any meaning “I” must be able to compare itself to “Not I”.
Without the comparison between I and Not I there is no meaning to I.
If there was only one mind it would not know what I means.
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Rick
post Jul 08, 2009, 09:58 AM
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I don't think that anyone disputes that minds are separate. Privacy is one of the well-known properties of consciousness. Perhaps if we define "I" to be an individual's mind and body, then there will be no argument. But then Descartes would have been better advised to say "I experience my mind and body, therefore, my mind and body exist."
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